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Western North Carolina The Mountain Region including Asheville
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:55 PM
 
Location: RTP area, NC
1,277 posts, read 2,999,433 times
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Have you had a seller refuse to mitigate the radon levels in a home? What can you do other than absorb the cost and/or walk away?

I didn't realize the western part of the state has the potential for higher radon especially with slabs than the piedmont or the eastern part of the state.

Looking at houses, we have seen a bunch with radon mitigation systems. We just had a house tested and the sellers are like 'so? so what?'. Hmmm.

How common is it for folks to not bother to mitigate radon with a 'weekend mountain house'?

Any guesses/experience here? I'm a newbie to radon risk and mitigation...
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Old 12-09-2010, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Weaverville
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Radon is so prevalent in this area that it is one of the standard items in contracts allowing you to walk away with your full deposit if the seller balks at mitigating. You definitely want a radon test as part of the inspection along with termites and other major items such as all major appliances and foundation. In the current market I'd be surprised for a seller to refuse mitigation, especially since you can walk with your deposit and another buyer may not come along for quite a while.

If you really like the property and the seller refuses to mitigate, you also have the option of fixing the problem yourself, and radon is not a very expensive one to attend to, usually well under $1K. Most mitigation simply involves placing a section of PVC pipe through the concrete floor/slab with a fan that sucks air out and discharges it outside. This creates a negative pressure environment under the floor/slab providing a preferential path for the radon. So you have to figure in the cost of running this fan 24/7 as you can never turn it off. Radon concentrations can vary greatly--our house came in at under 1 pico curie whereas my next door neighbor was over 10 (4 is the EPA standard) and has a mitigation fan running 24/7.
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Old 12-09-2010, 03:29 PM
 
Location: Blue Ridge Mntns., NC
10,106 posts, read 13,893,484 times
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You didn't say what the radon reading level is? If it is under 4.0 in NC, they do not have to mitigate. You can always have your attorney hold the money it would cost to mitigate in escrow if it is borderline and test again. Yes, we have a lot of radon in these mountains. Read your Offer to Purchase Contract and addendums relative to the radon testing results. If you don't have a Realtor's contract, then it would be a question for your attorney.

It is very possible to have a high reading on some days, and a low reading on others. Ask for a second test also.
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Old 12-09-2010, 05:31 PM
 
Location: Brevard, NC
165 posts, read 1,093,029 times
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You also have to consider the water supply. If the house is on a well, the water comes out of the same uranium rich granite that the house is sitting on. Our house has higher than the 4 pCi/L "limit" even though we already have a radon mitigation system in place. We then tested the water and found it contains radon, which is released into the air when showering, etc. The sub-slab mitigation system won't do anything to reduce in-home levels if the radon is coming out of your faucets.

You can mitigate radon in well-water, but it is quite expensive - I've seen estimates in the $4-5K range. The main method is to churn up the water and release the radon out through a vent pipe before it is used in the house. (If you google the subject, you'll find there is still debate over what constitutes a safe level of radon in water.)
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Old 12-09-2010, 06:02 PM
 
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Cofga,Thank you for your always valuable and informative additions to these threads. We finally have a contract on our house and are planning to move to the Asheville area in early March. While we intend to rent a house initially we certainly will be looking at neighborhoods to make a decision for a home purchase. This information about the area and conditions that one should have checked in a home inspection are simply invaluable. Please keep them coming!
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:11 PM
 
Location: Carolina Mountains
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There was just an article about all this in the local newspaper...lemme see if I can find it...
Asheville area has high levels of radon gas, so get your home tested | citizen-times.com | Asheville Citizen-Times

It might help give you or anyone else some more insight into the radon problems. I wouldn't buy a house without it being taken care of though, and even then, I'd be really nervous. I'm probably just paranoid though.
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Old 12-10-2010, 04:39 AM
 
Location: RTP area, NC
1,277 posts, read 2,999,433 times
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Radon exists a lot in the northeast - so I am used to it being tested and part of the sale.

So I was surprised at the homeowner's attitude - "you are just here on weekends, why bother" attitude.

I didn't know if his was a prevailing attitude of 'weekend home' or if this is just a seller resisting the additional cost.

THANKS for the feedback. It is terrific.
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Old 12-10-2010, 06:26 AM
 
Location: Blue Ridge Mntns., NC
10,106 posts, read 13,893,484 times
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Please don't compromise on the radon issue. Check your purchase contract, if the level is higher than acceptable, it has to be mitigated or you don't have to buy the property. In this economy, the seller should realize that any buyer will be concerned. And have the water tested too. If you need to sell the property in the future, it will be tested again unless the buyer waives it which is highly unlikely.
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Old 12-10-2010, 11:59 AM
 
4,770 posts, read 5,368,674 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryH3 View Post
You also have to consider the water supply. If the house is on a well, the water comes out of the same uranium rich granite that the house is sitting on. Our house has higher than the 4 pCi/L "limit" even though we already have a radon mitigation system in place. We then tested the water and found it contains radon, which is released into the air when showering, etc. The sub-slab mitigation system won't do anything to reduce in-home levels if the radon is coming out of your faucets.
Wow. I knew about radon, but this is the first time I've heard anyone mention the water supply.
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Old 12-10-2010, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Weaverville
765 posts, read 2,207,006 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shooting Stars View Post
Wow. I knew about radon, but this is the first time I've heard anyone mention the water supply.
Another reason we decided we wanted to be on public water supply. The systems around here rely on surface water instead of groundwater so that makes for fewer issues to be concerned with.
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